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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/books/entry_id/1015981-People-Without-Souls
by Seuzz
Rated: GC · Book · Occult · #2193834
A high school student finds a grimoire that shows how to make magical disguises.
#1015981 added August 24, 2021 at 11:58am
Restrictions: None
People Without Souls
Previously: "Breaking Bad

It's Saturday, but Zion has a weekend job you need to get to, so after a fast, hot shower and a quick breakfast with your new mom, you race over to Academy Sports. The smell of rubber, latex, and athletic clothes used to make you gag, but it quickens Zion's pulse. He played on the JV basketball team his sophomore year, and he carved out a spot in his junior year schedule for the practice hour so he could continue. But he got cut from the team. Fuckin' favoritism is what it was, he still fumes. Fucking Diego Rojas! Because Zion likes basketball and is good at it, when there's no one looking and the store is mostly empty, he likes to run a basketball up and down the aisles.

You also get to share half your hours with Jeremy Carver, another junior from school. Jeremy is a football player, and with his chunky build and piggy eyes, he has the intimidating physical presence of a gridiron bully. But Jeremy is a shy, sweet-tempered kid. Dumb as a box of hammers, as the saying goes, but endlessly patient and cheerful. Also, he sounds like Scooby-Doo when he giggles, which is often: Rheeheeheeheehee!

Christine likes to drop by an hour or so before Zion gets off, to casually visit and flirt. Today she has her friends Marianna Horne and Benjamin Grove with her, which surprises and annoys you. You're unable to drop any hints in front of them, and when you get off, your girlfriend inanely accepts Benjamin's suggestion that you step around the corner for sandwiches and chips at the delicatessen. It's while you're patiently munching on those that you get a shock. Marianne knows who Will Prescott is!

"Oh my God," she gasps when Benjamin talks about maybe seeing a movie. "Guess who I saw going into the theater last night!" she says to Christine. "Sydney McGlynn and her guy!" She says "guy" like it's a synonym for "shit."

"Oh my God!" Christine agrees without missing a beat. "They weren't holding hands or anything, were they?"

"He had his hand on her butt!"


"Who are you talking about?" Benjamin asks.

"Sydney McGlynn? She's a senior, this cheerleader from San Diego or something, moved to town this year," Marianne explains. "And you should see the gink she's decided to date!" She shrieks and rolls her eyes.

"Totally out of his league with her," Christine agrees with a sniff. "She should be with, like, Erik Carstairs, and instead she's with, like—?" She makes a face.

"It would be like if you were going out with, I dunno. Gavin Nutt?" Marianne giggles.

"Is Sydney's boyfriend even a senior? He looks like a sophomore!"

You keep a discreet silence until after the topic of conversation has shifted again.

"Sorry about all that back there, lover," Christine says after you've parted with Marianne and Benjamin and are strolling back to your cars with your arms around each other's waists. "But once she started talking about Sydney and that guy"—she shoots you a wry look—"I had to stay in character."

You just bite your tongue.

* * * * *

"No souls, Will," Sydney says. "I mean, now that you think about it, they probably wouldn't have souls, would they?"

It's a little before six, and you're cuddling on Mr. Hagerman's bed. You're both fully dressed, though, and Sydney is lying on her back, staring at the ceiling while you curl up next to her, lightly stroking her neck and breasts. You had a raging hard on by the time you got her back to Mr. Hagerman's, but after some deep kissing and hard pinching, Sydney pushed you bck and started talking about the Brotherhood again.

"Is that what your dad's notes said?" you murmur. "You need a soul to be a—?"

"Well, the 'soul' stuff is probably just, like, an analogy," she continues. "I mean, I figured that if the, uh, pedisequoses have all the, uh, secretions and stuff— I mean, they walk and talk and bleed and pee and do all the other stuff— Well, I figured they'd be able to do everything we do, including the ceremonies." She sighs. "But to work the ceremonies call for willpower—"

I got some "Will Power" I wanna use on you, honey, hurk hurk hurk, you snigger to yourself.

"—and I don't think the pedisequoses don't have wills of their own."

"I thought you said they don't have souls."

"Don't be pedantic. What I mean is, they do what they're told, so it is like they haven't got a will of their own. Anyway, the point is— The point is—" She struggles to find the point she wants to make. "They're just marionettes. And I think we need real little boys and girls for the Brotherhood to work!"

You raise up on an elbow to look down into her face. "So how do we make them real?"

She shrugs. "Well, we can check your book, I suppose. But so far it's just been about making disguises." She turns her head to regard you gravely. "How would you feel about bringing more people into our ... club?"

You suck in a deep breath. What does she mean?

But Sydney grunts and turns away before you can make a reply. "That's what I thought you'd say."

Then she reaches over to clasp you. "Help me get my mind off it, okay?"

* * * * *

But Sydney seems preoccupied, even as she pulls you hungrily into herself, and her gaze is distant when you look her in the face. After two bouts on Mr. Hagerman's bed, she declares that she needs to go home, and reluctantly you part. But she calls you only an hour later and asks to meet again. Your hope that she wants to pick things up where you left off, though, is dashed when she says she wants to meet you up at the school, of all places.

"I've got a crazy idea, Will," she says as she paces the parking lot in the dusk, and she clutches her tangled hair with both hands, as though trying to hang on to her own composure. "I want to recruit people for the Brotherhood, and I want to use the masks to do it."

"I thought that's what we were doing, and it turns out it doesn't work."

"I mean, recruit people but without making pedisequoses. Give them masks like we have masks. Turn them into other people. But they'd be awake and alert like we are!"

This sounds like her earlier suggestion about "bringing more people into the club."

"But we fuck with their heads," she says, as though reading your mind. "We just swap them, without warning. We turn them into other people. And then we explain to them that it was through the power of Baphomet, and that if they ever want to change back—" She catches her breath. "Then they need to join the Brotherhood!"

You blink at the suggestion. Frankly, it doesn't sound very convincing, and you tell her so. "If someone did something like that to me," you say, "I don't think I'd want to hang out with them or join any kind of—"

"Depends on how it's done. Oh! Maybe if we turned it around! she exclaims. "Quick, Will, who's someone at school that you're jealous of? Who's someone that you would want to be if you could?"

"You mean by using a mask?"

"Sure! Steal someone's life by turning into them. You've got the power, you know."

"So is that what we're going to do now?" You feel like she's lost you.

"With other people, yes. That's the point. I mean, everyone is jealous of someone. Or most people are. They look at someone else and say to themselves, I want what they've got. All of it. So," she continues in a tone of triumphant revelation. "We give it to them! With the masks!" She grins at you, like a cat bragging over a particularly juicy canary that it's just caught.

"We swap people into desirable places," she continues when you don't answer. "We turn them into someone they would want to be. Then we tell them, 'It's through the power of Baphomet that you've got this. Join the Brotherhood, and you get to keep your new identity, or get an even better on! Refuse, and you go back to being yourself.'"

Okay, now you think you see what she's driving at. "And we don't tell people about the masks?"

"Of course not! That's how we get them to believe in Baphomet. I mean, you've had a hard time swallowing it, I can tell, and that's even with— Well, the only way we could recruit people is by ambushing them with something, er, magical." She stumbles a little over the embarrassing word. "That would get them! And by playing on their, um, greed—"

"Yeah, okay, I get it now."

"And we'd be in charge. You and me. Directing them. And they'd be so confused, at first, then desperate to hang on to what we've given them, or greedy for more—"

"So how does this fit in with our original plan? Do we still pick Brothers from different classes? Or do we concentrate in just one class? Like, I'm not sure anyone, even a freshman, wants to be another freshman."

Sydney says she isn't so sure about that, and vaguely sketches a plan for graduated ranks of adepts, moving up from the freshman class to the senior class. You're dubious, but willing to discuss it.

After some talk, you are persuaded (and Sydney is persuaded too) that you should—

Next: "Which Witch?

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